Silence Of The Wolf Page 29

’’I might want her to stay longer, but the lady has a deadline on a story and a life back in Texas.’’ And some male friend living nearby who had planned to meet her. Tom had never heard anyone in the pack talking about a beautiful red wolf-coyote shifter, so the man couldn\ be with their pack.

’’All right. Just saying.’’

He appreciated Darien for mentioning it. With that one comment, he told Tom that he approved of the lady, and Tom thought the world of him for that.

’’Thanks, Darien.’’ Then he frowned at him. ’’You... didn\ happen to see a certain video taken at the ski resort today, did you?’’

He\d hoped Maggie, the receptionist at the hospital, had been pulling his leg that both Jake and Darien had bought the video from Cantrell. He couldn\ imagine his brothers wasting their money. Though he supposed they might have demanded a copy free of charge to ensure that the video wasn\ somehow damning.

Darien laughed and folded his arms across his chest. ’’Cantrell\s quite the entrepreneur. Others took pictures and passed them along in emails for those who didn\ want to pay for the video version. I told you to take care of the lady. Good job. Everyone knows to keep their paws off her now. I don\ think I\ve ever seen anything go viral that fast in the pack. Someone even sent the video to Carol.’’

’’Lelandi saw it,’’ Tom guessed. He didn\ think anyone else would have made Carol aware of it.

’’Yeah, she did. She called me and told me to buy my own copy because it was well worth it. I figured she sent a copy to Carol. The ladies viewed it again right before you drove up.’’

Tom shook his head and turned his attention back to the situation on the slope. ’’If these guys targeted her because she took pictures of them, why would that bother them?’’

’’Maybe because they are wanted men. Are they human?’’ Darien asked.

’’The way the wind blew, she couldn\ tell. The guy who sat on her chair acted like an alpha.’’

Darien squinted his eyes as he looked closer at the picture. ’’The way they\ e bundled up, I can\ tell if they\ e anybody I know. Half of our males could look like these men, as far as size and build go. What did you gather about the mess they made of her room at Hastings B and B?’’

’’The men who broke in left no scent there. That\s what made me think of the wolves in the vicinity of the livestock. They haven\ left a scent, either.’’

’’You think they\ e wolves?’’

’’Possibly, but I can\ be sure they\ e the same ones I\ve trailed,’’ Tom said. ’’With all the clothes the guy that ran into her wore, I couldn\ capture any scent on her, human or otherwise. But what if he masked his scent in the first place?’’

’’You think they could be using hunter\s spray?’’ Darien asked. His face brightened at the same time that Tom had a thought.

’’The last person who pulled that trick with the pack was Uncle Sheridan,’’ Tom said.

Darien nodded. ’’Just what I was thinking. What if this has to do with our cousins, and they\ e out for revenge because of the death of their father?’’

Chapter 11

Elizabeth slipped into the summer-warmed water, far enough from the pack, she thought, that they wouldn\ bother her. She was wrong. Uncle Quinton, her father\s brother, stalked toward the swimming hole, his face red with rage, his red hair nearly the same color. His blue-green eyes were narrowed in contempt.

Now what had happened? After her parents had died, she\d stayed far away from the wolf pack. They shouldn\ care about her any longer. She was no longer in their territory so they should have left her alone.

’’You are an abomination!’’ he yelled.

He\d often used those words before. She disgusted him. She was a disgrace to the pack. She\d heard it all before.

She feared him now and swam farther away from the bank. She\d seen that look in his eyes right before he killed a wolf who had tried to steal a prospective female mate from their pack.

He stalked into the water, still in jeans and shirt and sneakers, and swam toward her. He was a powerful swimmer, and though she swam well, too, she was only sixteen and didn\ have the strength behind her strokes to keep out of his reach.

He seized her hair and jerked it back, pulling her to where he could stand in the water. ’’Your brother...’’ he started.

Half brother, she wanted to say as she grabbed her hair to try to keep him from yanking it out of her head. Streaks of pain radiated through the roots all the way to her brain.

’’...met a pretty wolf. You know what transpired?’’

She knew what must have happened without him saying. The same thing had happened before to her uncle, and now to her half brother. The she-wolf her brother was interested in must have learned about Elizabeth. That he was of her blood and she was part coyote and rejected him because of it.

’’Well, no longer,’’ he said, and she knew then her uncle intended to kill her.

She fought Uncle Quinton with all her strength, scratched and kicked and even managed to bite his arm with her human teeth, drawing blood. He hit her in the head so hard that she nearly blacked out. She knew then the only way to survive was to play dead.

Limp and no longer fighting, she attempted to fool her uncle. Then four male teens appeared, laughing and joking loudly as they headed for the water hole. Guardian angels. Her uncle released her, waded back to shore, and ran off. She couldn\ smell the teens as they slowly approached her, their previous good humor gone. She knew none of them all dark-haired, all staring at her as if they didn\ know what to do with her.

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